Left to right: Kevin Wang (Arcadia), Bruce Lou (Saratoga), Hidehiro Anto (Menlo), Aseem Keyal (Westview)
Last weekend, Team California finished 3rd out of 17 teams at the 2014 National All-Star Academic Tournament, which was held this year at Ohio State University. The NASAT is unique among national quiz bowl tournaments in that players do not attend as members of their own schools, but instead as members of a single “all-star” team representing the entire state. This year’s Team California featured two players from the Southern California region: Aseem Keyal from Westview High School, and Kevin Wang from Arcadia High School.
Statistically speaking, this year’s third-place victory exactly matches the NASAT performance of the 2013 Team California, which also finished at 3rd place. Speaking from a specifically “SoCal”-centric perspective, however, the 2014 Team California represents a major step in the development of the Southern California quiz bowl circuit. While last year’s team was dominated by top-tier Northern California player Sameer Rai, who grabbed 70% of Team California’s points by himself, this year’s Sameer-less California team essentially split its points evenly, both between individual players and between the “NorCal” and “SoCal” player blocs. Focusing on the SoCal bloc, senior player Aseem Keyal scored 28 points per game and junior player Kevin Wang scored 20 points per game at this year’s NASAT. Incidentally, Keyal and Wang also clocked the 3rd and 2nd most powers (respectively) among Southern California players at this year’s HSNCT. By finally breaking the streak of NorCal-dominated NASAT teams, Team California 2014 has shown that SoCal can put up a good fight against the very best in the nation. The future is bright.